Is DNASTAR in trouble?

David Mathog mathog at caltech.edu
Mon Feb 28 08:34:43 EST 2005


Jacquelyn Sampson wrote:
> I recently upgraded to the latest version of DNASTAR.  It is terrible.
 > It reminds me of their early releases.  The only difference is that 
this time,
 > the company doesn't seem interested in fixing the problems.  All of the
 > people that I have been dealing with for years have left the company 
recently
 > and the service, which was once very good, is nonexistent.  I was 
going thinking
 > about buying more software from them, but I don't want to invest more 
money
 > in them if they are going out of business.  Does anyone know what is 
going on at DNASTAR?

The advent of 6.0 was pretty rocky from our point of view too.  For 5.x 
we had been using 4 license servers for Sassafras (1 master, 3 shadows).
That was enough redundancy that even with various outages we never lost
all servers at once. For 6.0 DNASTAR changed license managers
and then was unable to deliver a license for the new one that 
implemented a similar level of failover support.  They did
deliver a "test" license that ran on one server only.  That
was at least enough to let me test installing 6.0 and have a couple of 
beta testers try it, but it wasn't safe enough to roll out 6.0 
throughout the department.  Other than the license manager change I 
didn't find 6.0 to be all that different from 5.x.  The biggest change 
was the addition of Seqbuilder, which is a sort
of Gene Construction Kit like application (in rough terms).  On the 
other hand, I did not spend hours and hours
running through the different applications, so cannot say anything 
meaningful about the relative number of bugs in the two releases.
The beta testers who are using 6.0 have not reported any
problems to me.

We were essentially forced to upgrade to 6.0 because
DNASTAR told us that future "support" on the 5.x series was going to be 
limited to fixing problems caused by OS upgrades.  In other words 
support on 5.x was going to be a lot of money for very little in return.
We reported one bug in the 5.x OSX version in the last 3 months and 
support said to upgrade to 6.0.  Which of course we couldn't do
because of the license manager issues.

Bottom line, I too have the impression that they are going through a 
rough patch. I also get the feeling that DNASTAR is a bit short handed 
currently, at least at the developer level.  Oddly, from my point of 
view, their "careers" page:

   http://www.dnastar.com/web/r31.php

doesn't indicate that they are looking for developers, or at least
not through that channel.  However, they are looking for a
"Manager of Quality Assurance".  Draw your own conclusions on
that.

Wish I had more info to share but that's all I know.

Regards,

David Mathog
mathog at caltech.edu
Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech
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